Nowadays most of us spend a lot of our computing time glued to web browsers, soaking up what the web has to offer. This also means that the browsers are some of the most coveted targets for hackers and malware. But don‘t worry, making your browser safe and secure isn’t that much difficult.
One doesn’t need to spend a lot of time or effort setting up the defenses for your browser of choice. You need spend only a few minutes to make sure that everything is locked down.
These guidelines will help minimize your risk of being victimized online.
Even though most do not know this, but modern browsers themselves are equipped with security features that are designed to protect you from visiting malicious websites and prevent others from taking control of your system. But you need to keep your browser updated to ensure that these features are always functional in guarding against the latest threats.
Most browsers make it very hard on users to be running their latest version, with patches and bug fixes updated in the background most of the time. However, if you need to check whether you’re running the latest version, just open up the browser menu and choose the Help and/or About section. Microsoft Edge and Apple Safari browsers are updated together with updates to the OS itself.
The green padlock
The appearance of a green padlock in your address bar means that you’ve opened a site that employs HTTPS – the more secure version of the rudimentary HTTP standard used by most websites.
HTTPS brings some extra security measures including a method for checking that you really are connected to the site. In addition, it encrypts the data transferred between your computer and the website, so that someone sharing the same network as you – say in a Starbucks – won’t be able to intercept the information being sent.
You should always ensure that you see the HTTPS green padlock whenever you’re accessing sensitive information through your web browser. Many popular sites from banking to social networks, now deploy it as default.
Extensions and add-ons can be quite useful, but also tend to be authorized with certain sweeping permissions with regards to what they can do with the websites you browse and the information you enter into your browser.
Most browser add-ons you install from the browser’s store are probably safe, but it’s a good idea to go for the ones that are trusted, and get rid of the outdated ones you don’t use much any more. You can easily find the option to do this somewhere from your browser’s settings screen. An added bonus is that you might find your browser much faster and more smoothly.
Though not fully dependent on your browser, there are several ways by which you can keep your online accounts safe. These include using different passwords on different sites and logging off while using public computer services.
You should opt for two-step authentication if offered by the website. This requires you to use a username, password and in addition, a mobile code to gain access to a new device. Most major online portals, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple offer this feature.
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